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Thwaites urges increased focus on special education

Saturday, October 06, 2012 | 4:02 PM    

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KINGSTON, Jamaica – Education Minister Ronald Thwaites has pressed the need for increased focus on the delivery of special education to children in need of this intervention at the earliest stage possible.

“The task of special education has, regrettably, by my observation, not been given sufficient attention by the educational managers of this country; and that is a statement of regret and, at the same time, a stimulus for a change of attitude,” he said.

He was addressing the 4th Mico University College Child Assessment and Research in Education (CARE) biennial conference at the Jamaica Conference Centre Thursday.

The conference was held under the theme ‘Excellence in Education for all our children through Early Stimulation, Identification and Intervention’.

Thwaites said almost 30 per cent of Jamaica’s students range from “mild to serious” on the spectrum of educational deficiency, noting that “Jamaica has a higher percentage of students in need of special education than many other countries with which we compare ourselves”.

This development, he lamented, could ultimately stymie their development and advancement.

In light of this, Thwaites underscored the conference’s relevance and importance in engaging specialists to share best practices in diagnostic and therapeutic services for students in need of these interventions.

He encouraged the participants to focus particularly on the early childhood cohort to ensure that existing and potential challenges are identified, diagnosed and corrected at the earliest possible opportunity.

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